Environmental regulation: applicant behavior as a factor in obtaining permits

Opton, Barney M., author
Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, publisher
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Regulation by the Federal Government has long been a part of natural resources development and utilization in the United States. Since the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, environmental regulation has evolved as a major governmental tool in preserving environmental quality. Environmental regulation can result in substantial costs to those being regulated, their customers, and to the general public. These costs result from both lost investment if permits are denied and costs incurred due to the regulatory process. Because of a lack of understanding by applicants and because of a widespread mistrust of the process, applicants who have failed to obtain authorization sometimes lay the blame for their loss on the regulatory agencies, implying that they (the applicants) have been powerless to influence the process. This dissertation examines a somewhat different explanation. The primary hypothesis of the dissertation is that the applicant can have a high degree of control over the regulatory process and the final outcome, which is the issuance or the denial of the authorization. The "control" over the process is derived from early (pre-application) coordination with the authorizing agency and with the commenting agencies that represent specific environmental and public interests. It involves the use of technical and administrative expertise by the applicant as well as knowledge of the regulatory process. The applicant uses the same aggressive, yet compromising, management procedures that are appropriate in other elements of managing a business. A sample of project applications submitted by six hundred and fifty businesses, individuals, agencies, and others to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and for which final action had been taken, provided information on how applicants had dealt with the regulatory process. Based on this and other information describing each project, its environmental impact, and other characteristics, a series of models and other correlations were developed to describe the effect of alternate applicant process management techniques in terms of their success or failure in the regulatory process.
July 1984.
Submitted to the Water Resources Planning Fellowship Steering Committee, Colorado State University, in fulfillment of requirements for AE 695V Special Study.
Also presented as the author's thesis (Ph.D.), Colorado State University, 1984.
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Environmental policy -- United States
Independent regulatory commissions -- United States
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